REVIEW: “Gretel in Her Ever After” by RJ Astruc

Review of RJ Astruc, “Gretel in Her Ever After,” Luna Station Quarterly 19 (2014): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Premise: Gretel’s all grown up, living in the city, and selling white goods — any kind of white goods, but mostly ovens, as that’s what she knows best — and trying to come to terms with a past she can’t quite admit is real. As a premise, this is a pretty good one, and one apt to get me hooked. But Astruc combined it with another premise — Hansel all grow up, no longer slim but fat, greedy, slovenly — which too often felt too fatphobic for me to really be able to enjoy this story.

REVIEW: “Love Like Chocolate” by Risa Wolf

Review of Risa Wolf, “The Long Way Home” Cossmass Infinities 9 (2022): 115-122 — Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Oh, this was a heartbreaker! I could feel it from the very opening scene, when we meet Kari and Sonora (and their new puppy!) and find out just how much they love each other — and also that something is not right. The dramatic tension as we find out what that something is, over the course of the story, is perfectly pitched and left me shattered at the ending.

REVIEW: “Seraph in Ruins” by Mere Rain

Review of Mere Rain, “Seraph in Ruins” Cossmass Infinities 9 (2022): 98-109 — Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Seraph is a monster, and a loaner; whatever the vampires are hunting isn’t her problem. It’s only boredom, boredom that sees her rescue the woman and ensure she makes her way safely out of the zone that has “more monsters than spare parts” (p. 100). Of course, that’s what Seraph tells herself: we, the reader, know it is far more than that.

There’s nothing more enjoyable than smugly watching two characters convince themselves they are not falling for each other until they give up. This story provides all that enjoyment and more, that I read with a smile that just kept getting bigger and bigger.

REVIEW: “Victorian Resistance & the Lords Insectile” by M. Legree

Review of M. Legree, “Victorian Resistance & the Lords Insectile” Cossmass Infinities 9 (2022): 93-97 — Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story has an excellent title. It’s the one I most looked forward to reading after surveying the table of contents. The story lived up to its title, reminding me, in the bones of its essence, of a cross between Kafka’s Metamorphosis and a Dutch Master’s painting, backed up with a mass of science. Overall, extremely satisfying.

REVIEW: “Through” by Eric Fomley and Rich Larson

Review of Eric Fomley and Rich Larson, “Through”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Fast paced and full of twists, this was a one-sitting read. I don’t always read short stories in one sitting, despite their size and the possibility of doing so. But this one made me ignore everything else because I just had to find out what exactly was going on.

From the very beginning, there is intrigue and a build up of expectation. The authors very cleverly reveal a little at a time, sometimes raising more questions while simultaneously giving us readers tidbits of information. It felt like a much larger story skillfully condensed into short fiction. Extremely engaging read.

REVIEW: “Rain Falling in the Pines” by Lavie Tidhar

Review of Lavie Tidhar, “Rain Falling in the Pines”, Clarkesworld Issue 181, October (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Myra Naik.

Really well-defined world-building, with delicious hints of a broader world in the background. I’ve love to read a longer story set in this world. Multiple stories, even.

Geshem is a layered, interesting character, a First Human who lives in a world full of Sapis and genetically modified creatures. It’s a cyberpunk dystopia, and it’s been a while since I’ve read a good cyberpunk story, so this was even more appreciated.

Lovely concept and plot. Multiple characters, and even the minor ones were given strong personalities. I always love when an author pays that kind of attention to detail.